Mark Richardson 's Opinion

Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson: Collapse cancels all the positives

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All week I've been hearing about the positives but life, in my book, does not work that way. You can be as good as you like for 90 per cent of your life but if you make one big stuff-up, it will define you.

I just can't focus on the three good tests and the three good days and think everything is fine because 68 is one hell of a stuff-up. Okay, these things happen, we all make mistakes - hell, I've been in teams that have capitulated but it happens too often to this team to allow these misdemeanours to be overlooked because of some handy play around them.

First, you have to acknowledge it happened and ask why. It happened because the same players are making the same mistakes. Yes, the bowling was exceptional but if a sportsman is going to use the quality of his opposition as an excuse for their own failing then I don't hold much hope that sportsman will reach the top.

I was always told to prepare for the opposition to be at their best ... that and train harder than your opposing players were possibly the best two pieces of advice I was given.

Second, you can't find solace in the fact that you were competitive for three-quarters of the match, even Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are competitive for three-quarters of the match. For that matter, in many sports, the champion often takes till the last quarter to take control of the match.

The reason the lesser team crumbles is because the mental effort to match it with a superior opponent takes its toll and, when it does, the player with less quality to call upon will break down, mentally or technically or both. What that should tell you is you have to improve your skill level because your current level is not good enough to get the entire job done.

Third, when the Black Caps play the way they did for most of the match, it is not good enough to win. Sure, they've had a couple of notable test victories in recent years but for the most part they have lost or drawn. I hope they are not happy with that.

I'm being harsh here, I know, but what's the point in focusing on the positives if the positives are not winning games and the negatives are losing you games?

Now for the positives. This test is a four-day test which I feel is the future of test cricket, provided the players can bowl enough overs in the day. The over rates from the first test were abysmal and the ICC has to look a lot harder at speeding play up.

I also like the dynamic this bowling attack has when it includes the fourth front line seamer. It has a more attacking feel about it - which I like. This team will win tests through wicket-taking more so than via massive first innings totals.

- Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Hunter Richardson represented New Zealand in 38 Tests from 2000-2004 racking up an impressive 2,776 runs with an average of 44.7. The former Black Cap began his cricketing career as a left-arm spinner but soon realised that his talents lay with the bat. The transition from ball to bat was seamless and Richardson soon made his international debut against Zimbabwe at the age of 29. Known as a stalwart opener, Richardson’s intelligent style of hard-grind batting came at the perfect time for New Zealand cricket and provided much-needed stability for the Black Caps. Apart from being an excellent opening batsman, Mark Richardson was well-known among fans and team mates for his humorous off-pitch antics and friendly interactions with the famous Beige Brigade, with whom he formed a strong relationship. An excellent cricketer with a personable quality, Richardson once remarked that his retiring first-class average was only different to that of Sir Donald Bradman by a decimal point. Mark Richardson retired from all forms of the game in 2004 and continues to write an insightful, thought-provoking column for the New Zealand Herald.

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